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Abraham Joshua Heschel quotes Showing 31-60 of 147

“To gain control of the world of space is certainly one of our tasks. The danger begins when in gaining power in the realm of space we forfeit all aspirations in the realm of time. There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord. Life goes wrong when the control of space, the acquisition of things of space, becomes our sole concern.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath
“A prophet's true greatness is his ability to hold God and man in a single thought.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Prophets
“To be or not to be is not the question, the vital question is how to be and how not to be…”
Abraham Joshua Heschel
“This is one of the goals of the Jewish way of living: to experience commonplace deeds as spiritual adventures, to feel the hidden love and wisdom in all things.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism
“To pray is to dream in league with God, to envision His holy visions.”
Abraham Heschel
“The true meaning of existence is disclosed in moments of living in the presence of God”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism
“Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel
“In our own lives the voice of God speaks slowly, a syllable at a time. Reaching the peak of years, dispelling some of our intimate illusions and learning how to spell the meaning of life-experiences backwards, some of us discover how the scattered syllables form a single phrase.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel
“Indeed, the sort of crimes and even the amount of delinquency that fill the prophets of Israel with dismay do not go beyond that which we regard as normal, as typical ingredients of social dynamics. To us a single act of injustice--cheating in business, exploitation of the poor--is slight; to the prophets, a disaster. To us injustice is injurious to the welfare of the people; to the prophets it is a deathblow to existence: to us, an episode; to them, a catastrophe, a threat to the world.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Prophets
“Only those will apprehend religion who can probe its depth, who can combine intuition and love with the rigor of method”
Abraham Joshua Heschel
“The meaning of awe is to realize that life takes place under wide horizons, horizons that range beyond the span of an individual life or even the life of a nation, a generation, or an era. Awe enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism
“Man is not a beast of burden, and the Sabbath is not for the purpose of enhancing the efficiency of his work.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man
“The Sabbath is the day on which we learn the art of surpassing civilization.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath
“Gallantly, ceaselessly, quietly, man must fight for inner liberty” to remain independent of the enslavement of the material world. “Inner liberty depends upon being exempt from domination of things as well as from domination of people. There are many who have acquired a high degree of political and social liberty, but only very few are not enslaved to things. This is our constant problem—how to live with people and remain free, how to live with things and remain independent.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath
“Wonder or radical amazement is the chief characteristic of the religious man's attitude toward history and nature.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism
“We may not know whether our understanding is correct, or whether our sentiments are noble, but the air of the day surrounds us like spring which spreads over the land without our aid or notice.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man
“The solution of mankind’s most vexing problem will not be found in renouncing technical civilization, but in attaining some degree of independence of it.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath
“There is a passion and drive for cruel deeds which only the awe and fear of God can soothe; there is a suffocating selfishness in man which only holiness can ventilate.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism
“If God were a theory, the study of theology would be the way to understand Him. But God is alive and in need of love and worship. This is why thinking of God is related to our worship. In an analogy of artistic understanding, we sing to Him before we are able to understand Him. We have to love in order to know. Unless we learn how to sing, unless we know how to love, we will never learn to understand Him".”
Abraham Heschel
“Who is a Jew? A person whose integrity decays when unmoved by the knowledge of wrong done to other people.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays
“Short is the way from need to greed.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, Insecurity of Freedom: Essays on Human Existence
“There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord. Life goes wrong when the control of space, the acquisition of things of space, becomes our sole concern. Nothing”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath
“What seems to be a stone is a drama.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism
“Labor is a blessing, toil is the misery of man.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath
“Mankind will not perish for want of information; but only for want of appreciation. The beginning of our happiness lies in the understanding that life without wonder is not worth living . What we lack is not a will to believe but a will to wonder.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism
“The Sabbath is the presence of God in the world, open to the soul of man.” God is not in things of space, but in moments of time.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath
“Shabbat comes with its own holiness; we enter not simply a day, but an atmosphere. My father cites the Zohar: the Sabbath is the name of God. We are within the Sabbath rather than the Sabbath being within us. For my father, the question is how to perceive that holiness: not how much to observe, but how to observe. Strict adherence to the laws regulating Sabbath observance doesn’t suffice; the goal is creating the Sabbath as a foretaste of paradise. The Sabbath is a metaphor for paradise and a testimony to God’s presence; in our prayers, we anticipate a messianic era that will be a Sabbath, and each Shabbat prepares us for that experience: “Unless one learns how to relish the taste of Sabbath … one will be unable to enjoy the taste of eternity in the world to come.” It was on the seventh day that God gave the world a soul, and “[the world’s] survival depends upon the holiness of the seventh day.” The task, he writes, becomes how to convert time into eternity, how to fill our time with spirit: “Six days a week we wrestle with the world, wringing profit from the earth; on the Sabbath we especially care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul. The world has our hands, but our soul belongs to Someone Else.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath
“The prophets never taught that God and history are one, or that whatever happens below reflects the will of God above. Their vision is of man defying God, and God seeking man to reconcile with Him.”
Abraham Heschel
“Zion is in ruins, Jerusalem lies in the dust. All week there is only hope of redemption. But when the Sabbath is entering the world, man is touched by a moment of actual redemption; as if for a moment the spirit of the Messiah moved over the face of the earth.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath
“The primitive mind finds it hard to realize an idea without the aid of imagination, and it is the realm of space where imagination wields its sway. Of the gods it must have a visible image; where there is no image, there is no god. The reverence for the sacred image, for the sacred monument or place, is not only indigenous to most religions, it has even been retained by men of all ages, all nations, pious, superstitious or even antireligious; they all continue to pay homage to banners and flags, to national shrines, to monuments erected to kings or heroes. Everywhere the desecration of holy shrines is considered a sacrilege, and the shrine may become so important that the idea it stands for is consigned to oblivion. The memorial becomes an aid to amnesia; the means stultify the end. For things of space are at the mercy of man. Though too sacred to be polluted, they are not too sacred to be exploited. To retain the holy, to perpetuate the presence of god, his image is fashioned. Yet a god who can be fashioned, a god who can be confined, is but a shadow of man.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath


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